In April 2019, I decided to experience Holy Week in an entirely different way. I signed up for the Oxford Leg of the Student Cross pilgrimage from Oxford to Walsingham, North Norfolk – a journey of over 100 miles in 7 days, carrying a cross. I met a group of roughly 30 people across all ages and backgrounds (I was a recent graduate of Oxford University), most of whom I didn’t know prior to the pilgrimage. By the end, I’m happy to say that I made some lasting friendships and gained a whole new appreciation of the significance of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
I love walking in the countryside, encountering forests, fields and quiet, flower-lined paths. Walking with Oxford Leg, I became immersed in the natural environment, and discovered parts of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Suffolk and Norfolk entirely new to me, and outstanding in their beauty and tranquillity.
I was enriched by the spiritual aspects of the pilgrimage, as a retreat from daily life and an encounter with others. I really appreciated the opportunity to pray regularly on the journey, and to reflect with others. What’s more, I was struck by how closely Christians of all denominations worked together on the pilgrimage, moving freely and warmly between Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist communities along the route. And the music at Walsingham itself (which we reached on Good Friday) was phenomenally powerful in its passion and impact.
More than anything, though, the thing that has really stayed with me is the kindness, friendliness and good humour of my fellow travellers on the Student Cross pilgrimage. I met some amazing new people, with whom by the end of the 10 days I became close companions and had great fun.
So – if you’re wondering how to approach Holy Week this year, why not give the Oxford Leg of Student Cross a go? I’m so glad that I signed up last year- and I’m really looking forward to taking up the cross again in 2020. See the link below to sign up:
– James Sinclair